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Did Max Weber's Agony and Ecstasy Influence His Scholarship?



When exploring the intellectual history of a discipline, one cannot help but wonder about the “real” person behind the scholarship. To what extent do personal life experiences influence a scholar's theories, conceptualizations, and expectations? Max Weber, the German scholar whose intellectual curiosity was, at least partially, inspired by strong personal anxieties, became one of the most influential social scientists of the twentieth century. His own intellectual and personal obsessions, along with the efforts of his wife and colleagues to present his work to a larger audience, had much to do with who he was, as well as the body of scholarship that he created.